Making the Case for an iPhone Pro

Tim Nahumck on his personal work setup which resonates a lot with my own thinking (including a great picture documentation):

My setup consists of two things, and these two things only:
  1. A Logitech k480 Bluetooth Keyboard
  2. My iPhone 6s Plus
That’s it. I don’t use the MacBook Air that we own. I don’t use a PC except for work. I don’t use the iPad Mini we have either. This is my only device, and I’ve accomplished quite a bit with it.

The iPhone as it is right now is pretty powerful and I can get a lot of work done on it. In fact, I enjoy getting things done on just the phone.

Apps like Workflow and Drafts have become so powerful that it’s easier for me to do my work on my phone, rather than a PC.

To me, it's the redundancy between devices that makes iOS superior to a traditional computing environment. All the great apps and features that I have on my iPad are on my iPhone, as well. There is no disconnect in my setup, no matter where I am. 

Is it "fully featured", yet? Maybe not, but it will only leap forward in the near future. iOS is where the action is. 

Sure, having multiple devices is great; but I think that for me the only benefit would be the larger screen size, and it is really hard for me to justify spending that much money when it’s not needed.

I have made the case for an iPad Pro as my main productivity machine in addition to an iPhone. However, having both devices is expensive and money does factor in when talking about a setup. It's one of the reasons that I no longer consider upgrading to a future MacBook.

What's justifying the iPad Pro for me then?

  1. Work mode: Call it remnants of old habits from working on desk bound computers for years, but somehow the bigger screen helps me focus. I still find myself swiftly distracted on the iPhone. 
  2. Multitasking: I do one thing at a time - maybe in sequence with something else - on the iPhone.1 Thanks to split screen multitasking on the iPad, I can do up to two things in parallel - one primary task and one supportive task - on the iPad. I have been using my Macs in this manner for years, too. Anything more complex than this type of dualtasking is a fallacy, anyway. Multiple overlaying windows doesn't stand as an argument in favor of OS X over iOS. However, I don't think split screen multitasking in its current implementation would work for me on the iPhone as it does on the iPad Pro.
  3. Pencil support: I have grown fond of the Apple Pencil. I use it mainly for PDFs, which comprise a large part of my work on iOS, and for navigating the iOS interface without smudging the iPad's screen. Recently, I have started to take handwritten notes as an additional form of personal journaling (or "day logging" if you will). I scribble down notes, diagrams and checklists with the pencil in Notability as my day rolls by. It's not a replacement for my regular journaling in Day One, but it's one of those things where the pencil really shines. Typing the same note into Notability on my iPhone is cumbersome and clunky. It just doesn't work. Yet, I don't see myself using the pencil on a future iPhone Pro.
  4. The Smart Keyboard: While I love dictation2typing still ranks first as my form of interaction with my devices. I have used Bluetooth keyboards from third party vendors on my iOS devices in the past. However, they never felt like a proper fit. I do like Apple's Smart Keyboard, though. It has become my only contender to the software keyboard. I use it like an iPad dock on my desk.3 I would love to have some function keys on it, though.
  5. The Hedonic treadmill: I am a recovering GAS-oholic. I buy far too much stuff. I love to toy around with gadgets which all too often results in impulsive buying escapades. To a certain degree, that's why I am on the iPad Pro band wagon.4 I wouldn't be honest if I told you that I make all my decisions based on practically justifiable reasons only. 


  1. I do like the Share Sheet approach with Extensibility on the iPhone, though. Hopefully, the sharing interface gets further polished and the whole thing becomes less fiddly. ↩︎
  2. AI and voice input are supposed to become the thing, aren't they? ↩︎
  3. If the next iPhone comes with a Smart Connector that offers compatibility with all Smart Keyboards, I'll probably do a lot more writing on the phone. ↩︎
  4. Many thanks, Ben and Federico. ↩︎